A set of bright white, straight teeth often signifies more confidence and success during first impressions. So it’s no wonder that so many people say they’d like a straighter smile. But not many people come by those ideal smiles naturally. It often takes orthodontics to move the teeth into their proper place to achieve these goals and have much better oral health overall as well. Every set of teeth is different, so orthodontists have to use a variety of strategies to overcome these issues. There are several types of orthodontics that can be used, this is a list of seven of the most commonly used on patients.
1. Metal Braces
When most people think of orthodontics, there’s usually a traditional picture of metal brackets across all of the teeth with a wire running through them. Often the patient will have some kind of colored rubber bands attached to the brackets as well.
There’s a reason this version of orthodontics is what most people envision and that’s because it was the most popular option for a very long time.
Metal braces are very effective in getting teeth to move into a more straight position. It takes time and isn’t always the most comfortable for the patient but it works in most cases and gives great, lasting results. This method has proven to work which is why it’s stuck around for so long.
2. Functional Appliances
In more severe cases, patients need more than just some straightening of the teeth for their ideal smile. Occasionally, the jaw is completely unaligned as well and these problems can’t be fixed with traditional braces.
Functional appliances must be used in addition to orthodontics to get the desired end result.
These strategies involve a harness-like device that often involves rubber bands to train the jawbones into staying in the proper place at all times. In order for these treatment plans to work, the patient has to wear the device for the majority of the day. It can be a long process but the results are much more satisfying afterward.
Occasionally, a patient who has extreme misalignment with their jaw will be required to use headgear to resolve the issue. This strategy is generally reserved for those patients whose jawbones are still growing.
The headgear is often much stronger than other options and can therefore handle bigger problems. Sometimes, using these tools can lead to longer-lasting results or a quicker turnaround time. There are several types of headgear so the treatment can be fully customized for each individual patient.
If your orthodontist recommends headgear, it’s important to follow their exact instructions to get the best results.
On the opposite end of the orthodontic spectrum from the very visible headgear option is Invisalign. This relatively newer approach is essentially a way to hide the straightening of your teeth through the whole process.
A mold of your teeth helps create a series of retainer trays that are worn as much as possible. As they’re worn, the teeth slowly move to fit into that mold. Once they do, a new tray is introduced. The process repeats until your teeth have moved into their final, straight position.
It’s an incredibly popular option because it’s so invisible, especially for those older patients who don’t want to return to a mouth of metal. Many patients who only need slight adjusting find this a much better option as well.
5. Self-Ligating Braces
If traditional braces are what you had in mind for your orthodontic strategy but you want a little more control and very specific results, self-ligating braces are the right choice for you.
The main difference between self-ligating braces and metal braces is that they don’t use the colored rubber bands to hold the wires on. Instead, brackets have clips that are easier to work with for both the orthodontist and the patient. They are also more commonly ceramic braces that look much more clear than other options.
These strategies give the orthodontist more control as they place the wire through each individual bracket, giving you a more customized solution.
6. Lingual Braces
A much less common option for patients is the lingual braces. These are basically the same as traditional metal braces but they are attached to the backside of the teeth.
The main advantage of this type of orthodontic strategy is that they can’t be seen and appear invisible.
This isn’t a common option provided by most orthodontists because of the specialty it requires to get the brackets made and installed. Each piece has to be custom-made to fit the unusual shape of the back of teeth. That also means that this type of braces is much more expensive than others for the patients who choose to use them.
7. Night Guards
After you’ve put in so much work to get your teeth to a new, straight position, the last thing you’d want is to let them move back to their crooked position. And that’s where night guards come in to save the day!
Night guards are retainers that are designed to help prevent your teeth from moving by holding them in their correct position for the hours you’re sleeping.
These tools are also very important for those patients who regularly grind their teeth while sleeping. This grinding can cause intense damage that leads to painful tooth decay. Teeth grinding can even lead to headaches, sore jaws, or other health conditions which is why it’s so important to take care of.
Types of Orthodontics for Straight Teeth
There are so many types of orthodontics to choose from and treatment plans that have worked for patients, it’s hard to know what would work for you.
And that’s exactly why it’s so important to work with a skilled orthodontist with a lot of experience in their field. They’ll be able to create a customized plan to fit the specific needs of your teeth to help you get to your end goal smile as quickly and efficiently as possible.
If you’re interested in getting more information about orthodontics and what might be possible for your smile, contact us today for a consultation!